In Overfished Ocean Strategy, Nadya Zhexembayeva outlines principles for business survival in a new world. The planet is running out of resources for production, as well as space for the trash generated by the current linear, throw-away economy. The free market will self-destruct unless people transition to a circular economy, in which waste becomes a resource. Those who respond to this new reality with disruptive innovation gain a significant competitive advantage. Zhexembayeva sidesteps “green” businesses, advocating instead an entire economy that emulates the ultimate recycler: nature. Instead of fixating on the competition, businesses must think in terms of the global value chain. Businesses will sell solutions instead of products, and lean, flexible business models will replace cumbersome business plans. Interdepartmental power games must disappear, yielding to an organization-wide mindset. Business innovators have already begun the transition.
Nadya Zhexembayeva blames the linear, throw-away economy of the Western world for the current environmental and economic predicament: dwindling resources and overflowing landfills. She calls for a paradigm change producing disruptive innovation, but paints a hopeful vision of the future–if enough businesses insure their survival by adopting the five principles of her Overfished Ocean Strategy:
- Line to Circle: imitate nature by treating waste as a resource, not trash.
- Vertical to Horizontal: shift focus away from the competition and concentrate on the global value chain.
- Growth to Growth: stop measuring growth by quantity of products sold, and concentrate on selling value and meaning.
- Plan to Model: abandon rigid business plans and develop an innovative, resilient business model.
- Department to Mindset: override compartmentalization with a new mindset in which everyone, at every level of the organization, strives toward the same goal.
Overfished Ocean Strategy offers a solid model for business survival in a resource-deprived, over-trashed world. The book is best read straight through, however, chapter overviews make skipping around easier. Each chapter contains insights from other sources; chapters three through seven each end with a list of resources for further information. Graphs, charts, illustrations, and the occasional photo clarify points. Case studies of more than 30 companies, from several continents and representing widely varying fields, illustrate Zhexembayeva’s principles. The book is a must-read for business leaders interested in the environmental impact of innovation as it relates to the success of their companies.
Dr. Nadya Zhexembayeva is professor of sustainable development at IEDC-Bled School of Management in Slovenia. She is also a business owner who stays active in real estate, investment, and consulting. ENRC PLC, Erste Bank, Henkel, Knauf Insulation, and Vienna Insurance Group are among her recent clients. She is also vice president of Challenge: Future, a global youth think-DO-tank. She earned a doctorate in organizational behavior from Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management. Dr. Zhexembayeva is a native of Kazakhstan.